Nathan Bell announces new albums, UK dates

That’s not a typo – Nathan Bell has announced the release of two new albums which will be out in the UK on September 24th, along with a string of tour dates which kick off at the Performing Arts Centre in Kilbarchan on 4th October. ‘Er gwaetha pawb a phopeth (In Spite of Everyone & Everything), Live From Wales’  captures Bell’s live vibe which we  have glowingly reported previously, this time recorded in front of a sold-out crowd in Wales, Continue reading “Nathan Bell announces new albums, UK dates”

Jason McNiff “Joy And Independence” (At The Helm Records, 2018)

While never under-appreciated by those in the know, Londoner Jason McNiff’s folksy Americana has never quite garnered him the commercial success that it deserved. Since the mid-Nineties he’s released five consistently fine albums and played many equally fine gigs. Maybe his sixth outing will do the trick. It certainly deserves to as its eleven tracks are classic McNiff: fine guitar playing, insightful lyrics and an air of understated class. Continue reading “Jason McNiff “Joy And Independence” (At The Helm Records, 2018)”

Video premiere: Sleepy Zuhoski “Muscle Memory”

New Texas label, Palo Santo Records is run by Sarah Henry, producer Salim Nourallah and Alex Dezen, singer of The Damnwells and they look like they’re going to be an exciting base for releases on the basis of this, one of their first releases by Sleepy Zuhoski whose album ‘Better Haze’ was released on June 1st and whose Facebook profile says “I’d rather make a folk record with space sounds in it” which can only be a good thing. The track is a cover of a song by Canadian pop-star Lights from 2014 but a totally different take than the original, which was more of a dance number. Sleepy told AUK: “I had been listening to the song a lot because I loved the bleepy-bloopy intertwining arpeggios. I wanted to cover it because I thought it would be funny to do. It ended up coming out really well, so it made it onto the album.”

Laura C Brown “Hummingbird” – Listen

Laura C Brown’s new single ‘Hummingbird‘ represents a poignant moment – after singing in bands and musical theatre she was struck in 2013 with a life changing illness – losing the ability to speak and affected by an extreme sound sensitivity.   As things improved somewhat she learnt the guitar, and built up her singing voice.  Which brings us to today, and ‘Hummingbird‘ which is country and folk tinged song about breaking free from constraints.


AHI “In Our Time” (Thirty Tigers, 2018)

In Our Time’ is the second album by the Canadian, Stingray Award-winning artist, AHI. Following his DIY-released January 2017 debut ‘We Made It Through The Wreckage,’ this is his first album on the Thirty Tigers label. With no publicity or label, AHI had developed a fan base via word-of-mouth and viral campaigns, securing spots in the Billboard Spotify Viral 50 Chart and bagging over 2.5 million (and rising) streams for his track, ‘Sweet Ol’ Day’. Building on his performance at Nashville’s DIY Musician Conference in late 2017, AHI scooped the opportunity to appear in one of NPR’s cult Tiny Desk Concerts in January 2018. Continue reading “AHI “In Our Time” (Thirty Tigers, 2018)”

Stephen Simmons “Gall” (Independent, 2018)

If you’re having a great day and feeling care-free, you may want to steer clear of ‘Gall,’ the new album by singer-songwriter Stephen Simmons. Recorded in his Tennessee home over the past year, Simmons plays all the instruments this time around, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, keys, and harmonica.  Primarily though, ‘Gall’ is acoustic guitar driven.  The other instruments are used for colour, and very sparingly.  In fact, this lack of variety starts to wear thin by the mid-way point. Continue reading “Stephen Simmons “Gall” (Independent, 2018)”

Video premiere: Art Theefe “I Trained a Spy”

Art Theefe are a new three-piece band from Oxford, England, put together by singer and guitarist, Matt Sage – their debut album ‘Dig Deep’ comes out on 19th October on Stolen Heart Records, and their sound has echoes of lots of people in it – the emotion of Glen Hansard or Jeff Buckley, the layered guitars of Fleetwood Mac, the soul of Van Morrison (not literally). They’ve kindly shared their dark brooding new video for us for the song ‘I Trained a Spy’. Sage told AUK: “Exploring the theme of blind devotion – and its devastating but also comedic results – the track is full of Victorian grave-diggers dub reggae menace, replete with some agonised vocals and a musical saw. The video was shot at Oxford’s Centre for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing which has an original bar last decorated sometime in the 1950s.”

Treetop Flyers, The Lexington, London, 23rd August 2018

This gig heralded the Treetop Flyers’ self-titled new – and third – album due out the very next day on Loose Records and recorded just a mile or two north of the venue in Stoke Newington. It’s a notably young audience which is good news for the growth of this musical niche, with your reviewer feeling decidedly in the upper quartile on the age chart. The venue is packed out as is the stage with the quintet and their expanding hoard of instruments – the original trio of Reid Morrison, Laurie Sherman and Sam Beer having been augmented by sax man Geoff Thomas Widdowson, doing a job share with Danny and the Champions of the World, and drummer Rupert Shreeve. Continue reading “Treetop Flyers, The Lexington, London, 23rd August 2018”

Nickel & Rose “Americana” (Independent, 2018)

‘Americana’ is the latest release from Milwaukee duo Nickel & Rose, following on from last year’s acclaimed ‘Oh Sweet Love’ EP. The new record sees the duo follow a more introspective path, which garners some interesting results. The title track sees co-vocalist Carl Nichols questioning where he belongs within the parameters of Americana – being a racially-diverse artist coupled with the love/hate relationship with performing the music that he loves. He sings “I thought this was for everyone, not just the few, but I guess you won’t be satisfied until it all belongs to you” in a stinging tirade against the barriers facing him within the genre. Using art to vent his anger, the track itself is a sonically gorgeous Americana song, with glorious finger-picked guitar, in contrast to the anger which emanates from the lyrics. Proof, if it was ever needed, that race has zero relevance to authenticity within the genre. Continue reading “Nickel & Rose “Americana” (Independent, 2018)”